Wild Beasts – Smother

Album Review by Wilbur Kane | 04 May 2011
Album title: Smother
Artist: Wild Beasts
Label: Domino
Release date: 9 May

If they weren't tired of the comparisons already, Wild Beasts' third studio album guarantees they will continue to be talked of in the same breath as Talk Talk and indeed Radiohead – bands capable of courting mainstream popularity whilst maintaining their own sense of singularity, creativity and willingness to experiment.

Here, that experimentation is subtle, impressively restrained – make no mistake, this is progress from a band learning assiduously as they go along. Opener Lion's Share showcases this process pointedly. The menacing synth and plaintive piano create an otherworldy atmosphere, whilst Hayden Thorpe's voice, in the past often dissonant, now adds dimension. Tom Fleming appears on vocal more prominently, he and Thorpe interplaying rather flirtatiously throughout (see Burning and Deeper).

Plaything is a microcosm of the album's lyrical themes of love, lust and all the complexities and frustrations of those emotions. On Smother, Wild Beasts have taken inspiration from a myriad of musical sources (electronica, prog rock, opera even) and condensed it into their own unique brand of pop. Impressive.

Wild Beasts play Òran Mór, Glasgow on 6 May